Federation Council delegation has extensive agenda for North Korean visit – Oleg Melnichenko

A delegation of the Federation Council is on a working visit to North Korea.

A group of senior lawmakers – Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Federal Structure, Regional Policy, Local Government and Northern Affairs Oleg Melnichenko, First Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Sergei Kislyak and Deputy Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Alexander Bashkin – is visiting North Korea.

The purpose of the visit is to promote the formation of a DPRK-Russia inter-parliamentary friendship group, which the upper house speaker talked about last September during her official visit to North Korea, said Oleg Melnichenko, who serves as head of the Federation Council cooperation group with North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly.

“The group has been formed, and we are visiting North Korea at the invitation of the country’s lawmakers. This visit is dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the Agreement on Cooperation between the DPRK and the Soviet Union, signed on 17 March 1949,” the senator added.

The visiting members of the upper house have held several official meetings in Pyongyang, he said. The first one was with Hong So Hon, co-chairman of the DPRK-Russia inter-parliamentary friendship group. “We have had a fruitful conversation; we have reached agreement on substantive cooperation, outlined a plan for joint activities, and invited our colleagues to Moscow,” said Oleg Melnichenko, adding that the North Korean parliament recently held elections. “The governing bodies have not yet been fully formed, but comrade Hong So Hon has kept his deputy mandate. We hope that his status as chairman of the group will be extended.”

“Also, a meeting has been held with Vice-Chairman of the Committee for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries So Ho-won, who also chairs the Korean-Russian Friendship Society,” continued Oleg Melnichenko. “We have thoroughly discussed the mechanisms of cooperation between sister regions and cities of the Russian Federation and North Korea. Comrade So Ho-won informed us that a North Korean delegation would attend the events dedicated to the founding of the city of Khabarovsk. The timeframe for a reciprocal Russian visit is being coordinated. We also discussed specific areas of cooperation in the field of culture and education.”

Oleg Melnichenko pointed out that one of the group members, Alexander Bashkin, who represents the executive authority of the Astrakhan Region in the Federation Council, proposed that his North Korean counterparts consider educational institutions of the Astrakhan Region for training Korean specialists in medicine and engineering.

“Other plans in Pyongyang include scheduled meetings with North Korean Minister of External Economic Relations Kim Yong-jae, and separate talks with his deputy, Ri Kwang-gun. It is planned to discuss a number of aspects of inter-regional economic cooperation. Also, the senators intend to meet with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Im Chon Il, who oversees cooperation with Russia, and with Vice Minister of Culture Pak Chun Sik. The Russian lawmakers expect to be received by Vice Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea’s (WPK) Central Committee Ri Su-yong.”

“We will continue working. We plan to visit Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies to see the progress of Korean specialists’ training in the Russian language, to meet with the director of the Russian Language Centre in North Korea, and to tour construction projects. All events are widely covered in the North Korean media,” Oleg Melnichenko said.

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